The chief economist at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, John Philpott, recently told employers to make jobs less c**p and it seems that the EU pen-pushers agree.

John Philpott was speaking about youth unemployment at the LibDem conference and said that employers should be concentrating on offering employees better jobs and not '…focusing too narrowly on the skills and the employability of the people'.

And now it seems that EU civil servants working in the European Commission, the European Parliament and the EU council of ministers agree with this premise. They are up in arms about a proposal to increase their working week from 37½ to 40 hours. (Although one does wonder if we'd notice if they did either more or less work.)

According to the Independent this cost saving measure could shave £870 million off the EU's annual budget.

But as you would expect the EU parliament's joint trade union, the Equipe d'Union Syndicale, has rejected this. With a group of officials signing a letter saying "The unions and staff associations replied to this proposal with a categorical 'Niet!'"

Their premise for not taking the extra hours is that it would negatively impact on their work/life balance and that the 'attractiveness' of an EU post would 'deteriorate'.

But some also said that they worked longer hours than required anyway and balanced these with flexitime and time off in lieu.

Martin Callanan, the Tory leader in the European Parliament, said that these civil servants should 'get real' while the rest of the world has cut-backs and wage freezes. Quoted in the Independent he said "The Brussels pen-pushers, just like many of the politicians here, just don't seem to get it when it comes to the economy. Austerity measures are being taken everywhere, but somehow they think the EU is immune. They need to get real and start to talk to us about how they can help Europe out of this crisis."

UKIP leader Nigel Farage MEP said "You really couldn't make it up: Greece looks like it is about to implode and yet the eurocrats responsible for the mess are moaning about working slightly longer every week to justify their bloated salaries that we are paying for."

Although it is questionable as to whether we should be changing their contracted hours if we are not doing the same thing in our own country, it should still be pushed through. That way we are in a win/win position. They either work longer for the same money, or they go on strike and we realise that we don't actually need them or the EU.

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